President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Nigerian Armed Forces to confront the terrorists, eradicate them from the face of the earth and bring peace and security to the country.
The president gave the order on Thursday while addressing military officers at the graduation ceremony for 247 students of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) Senior Course 44, at the military cantonment of Jaji, Kaduna State. He said the past 12 years had been very difficult for Nigeria given the various security threats that besieged the country.
“Most of the security challenges facing the world today are both asymmetrical and cross-border, primarily involving non-state actors in different regions and sub-regions of the world. The West African sub-region and indeed our beloved African continent are not immune to these threats. We have witnessed recent terrorist attacks in Nigeria bearing the hallmarks of domestic and cross-border insurgents trying to wreak havoc in Nigeria as well as neighboring countries.
“It will be part of your duty to confront these terrorists and insurgents and wipe them off the face of the earth and bring peace to our countries. Effectively combating these common security threats requires that African countries continue to work together at all levels; be it tactical, operational and strategic.
“To this end, the ongoing collaboration of the armed forces of Nigeria, Cameroon, the Republic of Niger and Chad in a multinational operation to counter the Boko Haram insurgency in the Lake Chad region has been productive and particularly commendable and successful.
“The synergy achieved by operating together must have been enhanced by an understanding of the doctrines of the cooperating forces. Our government stands ready to promote national security and development, and to remain committed to promoting a vision of a safe, secure, just, peaceful, prosperous and strong Nigeria.
President Buhari also hailed the National Army when he said, “Nigeria’s Armed Forces are working tirelessly to improve their combat effectiveness, operational capability and training necessary to eliminate threats, in synergy with other institutions and nations.
“The response of the Nigerian armed forces to the Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, militancy, kidnappings as well as the activities of separatists and armed militias, among others, has been commendable. This government will continue to provide the necessary guidance and support to ensure that the desired results are achieved.
Addressing the graduating officers, among whom were officers from neighboring African countries, the President said their participation in the 48-week course was further testimony to Nigeria’s national security aspirations to promote peace, international friendship and cooperation.
“It is particularly gratifying to note that among the graduate students are international officers from brotherly African countries. Gentlemen, I am convinced that you have appreciated our friendliness during your stay here. I’m also sure you would have noticed that despite our diversity and challenges, Nigeria is still one of the most hospitable and enjoyable countries to visit and stay in.
“For the graduating Nigerian students among you, graduation today is a call to duty in the service of our country. Nigeria expects the best from you in terms of loyalty, commitment to duty and service to your You should strive to make honest and positive contributions to the discharge of the constitutional responsibilities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, your strategic ministries, departments and agencies and be good ambassadors of the Command and Staff College of the Armed Forces.
“You have to realize that the nation has invested a lot in your training up to this point in your respective careers,” Buhari said.
Troops eliminate 42 terrorists, 3,858 surrender
In a related development, the Defense Headquarters said on Thursday that Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK) troops eliminated 42 Boko Haram insurgents in the past two weeks in the northeast.
Likewise, he said that 3,858 terrorists, including six senior commanders and their families, surrendered to the troops in the theater of operation.
Director of Defense Media Operations, Major General Bernard Onyeuko said this in Abuja while reviewing the progress of the ongoing military campaign against the insurgency.
He said the troops have taken the battle against Boko Haram terrorists and enclaves in the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) with more coordinated operations.
He said the air component of the OPHK on July 11 conducted an air interdiction operation at Tumbum Jaki and Tumbum Murhu near Lake Chad in Borno State, killing more than 21 terrorists.
Onyeuko said the commanders of the six terrorists surrendered to troops in Gwoza.
He listed the commanders who surrendered to include Malam Mala Hassan (Wali), Ali Madagali (Munzur), Musa Bashir (Chief Anur), Buba Dahiru (Munzur), Jafar Hamma (Kaid) and Abbali Polisawa.
“In addition, approximately 3,858 Boko Haram terrorists and their families surrendered between July 1 and July 14, including 505 men, 1,042 women and 2,311 children,” he said.
DHQ also said troops neutralized an unknown number of terrorists in different encounters at Gamage village in Dikwa local government area, Dikwa – Gamborou-Ngala road, Pulka – Gwale road in Borno during the period. .
The spokesperson said that several logistical suppliers/collaborators of the terrorists were arrested with different items at various locations in the theater.
He said, “Among them were two women, namely; Hauwa Gambo and Khadija Dirsa. Consequently, the troops neutralized 42 terrorists, arrested 10, captured 17 AK47 rifles, one QTC rifle, 1 RPG bomb, one RPG tube, five hand grenades, 120 rounds of 5.5 mm and 54 rounds of special 7 .62mm.
Onyeuko listed other items to include 151 rounds of 7.62mm NATO; 60 rounds of 12.7 108mm, two ammunition links, five Dane guns, eight rounds of manufactured 7.62mm ammunition, one smoke grenade, two locally manufactured explosives, 23 empty AK47 magazines and five FN magazines.
He said the terrorists who surrendered and their families were profiled and documented while the items recovered and suspected terrorists apprehended were handed over to the relevant authorities for action.
Nigerians urged on biased narratives
Meanwhile, Nigerians have been urged to collaborate positively with the Nigerian Army and sister agencies in the fight against terrorism and various security issues.
They have been urged not to join in dragging them down through negative comments and ratings on mainstream and social media platforms.
The Africa Advocacy for Leadership and Good Governance (AALG) and the Transparency Network Center (both pro-human rights and pro-democracy groups) gave this advice in a statement by its national coordinator, Mahmud Bello, and the secretary executive of the TNC, Comrade Bashorun Adegbite.
Their reaction followed what they described as “the numerous recent media publications and headlines biased and slanted in favor of the insurgents against the Nigerian military for some time now”, following the escape of Kuje and the attack on the Daura convoy by terrorist elements.
The groups said: “Since the proactive and patriotic Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Faruk Yahaya took over, the Nigerian military has significantly reduced the ferocity of the Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgents; has reduced clashes between farmers and herders across the country and has also nipped in the bud various unpatriotic elements that are fanning the embers of war inside the country.
“Nigerians have never been so proud of the professional orientation of the military in safeguarding the territorial integrity of the nation and the great spirit of motivation of the officers and men, including adhering to global best practices in human rights and civility of the Nigerian military in this democratic dispensation.
“Our Nigerian army has remained the finest in Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, it has remained the best led, best trained and best equipped patriot soldiers who are focused on the daunting task of protecting and safeguarding territorial integrity of our nation.
“A realistic assessment of the security situation shows that the insurgents are not winning the war, but have been degraded and debunked by the Nigerian military, but are only growing and using all propaganda tools and unpatriotic Nigerians, including disgruntled politicians, to fan the embers of division.
“We urge our military to remain focused and undeterred in their ongoing military operations across the country, the assault on ISWAP/Boko Haram insurgents and criminal elements across the country. They should not be distracted and discouraged by the antics of these evil fifth chroniclers and merchants who do not mean well for our nation.